Uncovering naked broadband - what it really means

Uncovering Naked Broadband

Naked broadband
You don’t need to have a home phone connected to enjoy ADSL. Photo: Shutterstock

So many of us still have a home phone plugged into the wall but never use it – except of course for receiving those endless telemarketing calls! We keep it there because our ADSL broadband needs a phone line – when actually, you don’t need to have a home phone connected at all. The option to go “naked” with your broadband connection lets you lose the home phone for good, and it’ll save you money in the process.

What is naked broadband?

Usually, when you get connected to ADSL, your ISP hooks you up to the broadband equipment at the phone exchange using your home phone line as the link. The ISP may have their own equipment at the exchange, or they may use Telstra’s – but either way, that phone line is still a functioning voice line that you have to pay monthly line rental for. Naked broadband takes that phone service out of the equation altogether. That same phone line still carries your internet service to and from the exchange, but the landline phone service is cancelled, meaning that you no longer have a line rental bill to pay each month.

Even if you’ve had your phone service bundled in with internet through an ISP, you’ve still been paying line rental to Telstra on your bill. With the naked option, your ISP can offer you the same internet service at a cheaper rate.

If you’re looking to save some cash, ‘going naked’ with your broadband might just do the trick. Photo: Shutterstock

So I save $30 a month just like that?

Well, not exactly – it’s not as simple as just deducting the line rental charge from your current phone/internet bill and calling it a bargain. You ISP still has to pay Telstra a fee to access the line for ADSL, though it’s substantially less than the standard line rental charge. That fee is incorporated into the monthly rate for your new “naked” service.

Regardless, if you use your landline phone rarely or not at all, there’s big savings to be had simply by checking what current deals the ISP’s have to offer – and often, the bigger-allowance plans offer the biggest savings. Let’s take the example of Internode, which has an unlimited-data plan available on ADSL for $99.99/month. Opt for the “naked” version of that plan and they remove the whole $30 line rental charge from the price, making it $69.99/month. That’s $360 per year staying in your pocket while you get exactly the same internet service.

But what about phone calls?

For many people, their mobile phone has become the phone they use for everything, even at home – and for those people it’s a win-win situation. You get rid of the landline phone you weren’t using anyway, and you get a nice discount in return. But if you still want a fixed phone at home, many ISPs can offer you what’s known as a VOIP alternative – basically, a phone with a regular phone number, but which makes and receives calls over the internet. The technology for this has evolved to the point where reliability isn’t an issue and call quality is excellent – but it’s worth noting that if there’s any internet downtime, that VOIP phone won’t work for the duration.

If you use any services that require a landline phone service to work – including fax machines, monitored alarm systems, or even some lesser-used Foxtel features on their older boxes that require a phone line – then naked ADSL is not for you; after switching, the only thing that will be able to communicate on your phone line is your broadband modem.

When browsing ISPs’ naked ADSL plans, by the way, bear in mind that some of them bundle the VOIP phone service with every connection. That’s great if you still want a home phone and want to save a bit of money, but if you don’t need that home phone at all, check for plans that offer only the internet connection. They’re usually going to save you even more money – and there’s no point in paying for something you won’t use.

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Last audited 15 April 2021

I just moved in – can I get naked?

Assuming you’re asking in relation to broadband, then yes, you can! There usually doesn’t have to be an existing phone service on the line for you to connect to a naked ADSL plan right away – there just needs to be a phone line there at all – though some ISPs require there to be an active phone service on the line before they can switch it to naked ADSL. Connection fees for naked ADSL are usually the same as for a regular phone line when moving into a new place, but be sure to shop around – some ISPs will reduce or waive connection fees if you commit to a 12-month or 24-month contract.

The ADSL service you get from your ISP is the same regardless of whether the line is ‘naked’ or not . Photo: Shutterstock

Is there any difference in speed?

None at all – the ADSL service you get from your ISP is exactly the same regardless of whether the line is “naked” or has a phone service attached. Losing the home phone does get rid of one of the annoyances of ADSL, though – there’s no longer any need for you to plug line filters in between phones and the socket – and that can result in your ADSL connection being more stable and reliable. But otherwise, you’ll be surfing the net at the exact same speeds you were getting before – it’s just going to be costing you less, and sometimes a lot less!

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